When choosing an office chair, there are several important elements to consider. What is your financial plan? Is buying secondhand a wise idea? Do you desire a chair that is completely ergonomic? And, to the best of your abilities, what other significant variables are involved in ensuring that you choose a suitable office chair?
We’ll look at five important factors to consider when buying an office chair in this post, but keep in mind that we also have a guide that lists all of the finest office chairs presently available, which you might find useful.
In addition, we’ve highlighted all of the greatest standing workstations.
Set a budget for yourself (and consider second-hand)
When purchasing an office chair, the first important aspect is to choose how much you want to spend, since this will influence a lot of other variables and decisions.
There are many various types of seats available, with prices ranging from extremely low to extremely high. Some of the best office chairs may cost well over a thousand dollars (or pounds), and there are executive chairs that can cost as much as two or three thousand dollars.
Although, in our opinion, there’s no reason to spend more than $1,000 unless money is no object and you want to make a statement (but keep in mind that some of those super-expensive executive chairs focus on finish, trimming, and lots of padding at the expense of real ergonomics – so tread carefully even then).
Similarly, an office chair may be purchased for less than $50 on the low end of the market. However, unless you’re on a really tight budget and have no choice, we wouldn’t recommend a bargain basement product. A quality office chair should cost at least $200, if not more. (And a little extra if you want something ergonomically sound – more on that later – that will likely pay off in the long run in terms of longevity and warranty; as they say, buy cheap, buy twice.)
Those on a tight budget may want to explore purchasing a used chair as an option. This might be a tempting alternative to investing in high-end office chairs, which can be very pricey, simply since you can buy them for a lot less money. Your money will stretch a lot farther with second-hand, and after all, quality chairs are meant to last a long time, so a few miles on the clock may not be a big deal.
Of course, there are drawbacks, such as the lack of a long manufacturer’s warranty and the fact that the chair is used, so its condition may not be ideal. However, if you buy from a reputable and well-reviewed company that specialises in used office chairs, you may get a great price on a seat that is as good as new. However, there are always hazards when buying secondhand equipment, and we’d prefer to buy from a reputable retailer rather than some random on eBay.
Another important factor to consider is the sort of chair you desire. There are many various styles to choose from, and your workspace may have certain specific requirements.
Do you, for example, have limited space and a small desk? Or how about a standing desk? If this is the case, tiny task chairs or even stool-style seats would be your best option. There are some chair designs that do not include armrests or a headrest. Are these features essential to you? When choosing the perfect chair for your specific needs, you must keep all of these factors in mind.
Another important consideration is the style of finish: do you like a fabric or leather chair? The latter seems plusher, is more resistant to spills and other messes, is easier to clean, and may feel nicer in certain ways – but a good quality fabric will be less expensive and perform better in hot weather. If you’re looking for a chair that allows you to breathe easily, look for one with a mesh back.
Some of the best office chairs also contain luxury amenities that you might be interested in, such as built-in heated pads for those uncomfortably cold mornings at work.
How significant are ergonomic considerations?
Are you looking for a comfortable office chair? This refers to a chair with a variety of different adjustments for each individual portion, as well as one that is created with ergonomic performance in mind (these do, naturally enough, tend to be the more expensive models).
Of course, every office chair is built and tested to be reasonably ergonomic and pleasant – you’d think so, right? – but some simply provide the most basic changes, such as the ability to modify the seat height and maybe the backrest tilt.
Ergonomic variants will go even farther, allowing for adjustments to the seat pan’s position (sliding it forward or backward), the backrest’s position, and the tension of the reclining action for the latter. You may also be able to modify the armrests’ height and location, as well as the headrest, and maybe more.
The concept is that you can actually modify the seating posture to your own specific demands and body type using these seats. Ergonomic models frequently benefit from intelligent design features and technology as well. The Humanscale Freedom office chair, for example, features a self-adjusting backrest that adjusts to the way you’re sitting, which is a clever design.
Don’t overlook the need of lumbar support
While you won’t find adjustable lumbar support on a cheap chair, you should search for it in a midrange or higher office chair. It’s generally an optional extra on some seats, and it’s definitely worth the extra (usually minor – maybe $30 or so) investment.
Because proper back placement is critical for a comfortable seat, the option to adjust the backrest to better fit your lower back is a feature that should be considered if at all feasible. Some more costly chairs, such as the Freedom we just discussed, may even feature a backrest that adjusts itself.
If at all feasible, try out different seats
Naturally, office chairs are a personal affair in certain ways; one person may find a specific seat firm and pleasant in terms of cushioning, while another may find it excessively harsh and unforgiving. The same may be said about the backrest’s or other parts’ design.
Given this, if at all feasible, visit a physical office outlet or retail store to check out a chair you’re considering purchasing, especially if it’s on sale. Or simply sit in several chairs to give them a brief test – this may be a helpful exercise in determining what you should be looking for.
However, sitting in a chair for five minutes isn’t a guarantee of compatibility; you’ll only truly know how well it suits you after using it for a whole day (or more to the point, for a number of weeks, really). Still, you may get a sense of how the land is laid out and, in some cases, rule out a potential acquisition that doesn’t feel right from the start.
If you buy your chair from an online retailer, many of them offer 30-day money-back guarantees (or even longer ones), which can be very useful for returning something that isn’t right for you (though you’ll probably have to pay for shipping, but that’s still better than losing a lot of money on an expensive chair that doesn’t work out, or having to try to sell and ship it via eBay).